President Obama’s “you didn’t build that speech” certainly created a firestorm. And it still continues to rage. Republicans, sensing a golden opportunity to prop up their own tepid presidential hopeful, seized the quote and immediately began using it as proof of Obama’s socialistic worldview.
Of course, if you take the president’s words at face value, he speaks the truth. Nobody created anything on their own. We live in an interconnected society. Businesses depend on others to supply parts and labor, to buy their products, and yes, to build infrastructure.
But what of his underlying message?
Obama wants to make the case that successful people somehow “owe” something to society at large. Implicit in his remarks, we find the idea that successful, rich Americans use “public resources,” such as roads and education, and this creates the justification for levying higher tax rates on the fruits of their labor. After all, the “public” helped them “build that.”
Obama’s remarks parallel those made by Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren last year.Details